<a href="http://www.gmagazine.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

A tip and an extra challenge

Thinking about reuse

Credit: iStockphoto

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So how did your challenge go? I'd love to see what sort of things you tried in your efforts to refill, reuse and repair, or any recommendations you've got.

Australians have got it good compared to other places in the world. We don't have to make do and mend, because we've got so much cheap stuff easily available to replace anything that gets broken or worn out.

But I think we might be losing the skills our grandparents' generation had, the ability to find creative uses for everything. I think we need to learn to spend our money consciously, making careful choices based on reliability, repairability and reuseability instead of based on what's fashionable or convenient this week.

By making an effort to refill, reuse and repair our stuff, we can save money. And I don't know about you, but even when I haven't got a lot of bills to pay, I'd rather spend any money I save on going out with family and friends than buying an endless stream of things that don't mean anything to me.

And by choosing long-lasting, reuseable things instead of cheap disposables, we're also making the decision to surround ourselves with objects that will be part of our lives for years to come. Architect William Morris said "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".

I think that's a great way to live. Let's leave behind the flimsy bits and pieces that never last, and aim for quality products that can be maintained and reused for a very long time.

So I've got one final extra for this challenge, a way to extend it a bit longer: when you're buying Christmas presents for people over the next few weeks, try to choose things that they can refill, reuse or will be able to be repaired later on. Give the gift of a little bit of eco-friendliness to everyone, even if they don't realise it!